Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Javier Carvajal Rojas

Javier is from Costa Rica, and he is trying to maintain his Hispanic double surname while living and studying in the US.

Javier is working on a PhD currently, and he described the difficulties of having two last names, “The system for the journals doesn’t recognize the two last names, so I need to hyphenate them… I don’t like it, but… I know that other custom and other system; I respect that… I prefer to use it separately, but I know that it’s not the same here. So I know that I need to hyphen to be recognized.”

Javier explained his view on the traditional naming system in the U.S. and said, “I think that it is unfair… I think that implicitly this comes from the fact that the father, or the man, considers the woman like an object, maybe, and is used to have the childrens.” And he elaborated on the importance of a last name; “I think the last name is important in the identity because the last name is the name of your family. And so, the last name means, in tradition, means where do you come [from]. And some years ago, the houses in Costa Rica, in the door, the main door, usually the people write the name of the family, and [that] was the two last names. I think the last name is the name of your family.”



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